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American Samoa Earthquake and Tsunami



The damage from tsunami flooding can be seen on a street leading up to Pago Plaza in American Samoa's capitol of Pago Pago. The NPS visitor center, which was heavily damaged, is on the first floor of the Pago Plaza -- the blue tile building in the background
The damage from tsunami flooding can be seen on a street leading up to Pago Plaza in American Samoa's capitol of Pago Pago. The NPS visitor center, which was heavily damaged, is on the first floor of the Pago Plaza -- the blue tile building in the background
Updated October 13, 2009, An earthquake with a magnitude of 8.0 on the Richter Scale occurred 120 miles south-southwest from American Samoa, about 13 kilometers below the seabed at about 6:48 a.m. SST (1:48 p.m. Eastern DT ). The earthquake was followed by a tsunami that produced several large waves causing 32 confirmed deaths, more than a hundred injuries and the destruction of about 200 homes and businesses. While there are still about 400 persons living in shelters, most of the displaced persons have been invited to live with friends and families on the island. Major damage/destruction occurred to the coastal areas of Tutuila and other islands of American Samoa, a U.S. insular territory. The tsunami also impacted surrounding islands, including Western Samoa and Tonga.

American Samoa received an expedited Federal Major Disaster Declaration on Sept. 29, 2009 making disaster funds available for Individual assistance, Public assistance and Hazard Mitigation. The Federal Coordinating Officer (FCO) established a Joint Field Office (JFO) on the island where all Federal response and recovery operations are being coordinated. The FCO assumed operational control of response and recovery operations from FEMA Region IX’s Response Coordination Center which has transitioned to a support posture. The Federal Emergency Management Agency announced late this week that response operations have concluded and the incident has moved to the recovery phase. FEMA's National Response Coordination Center has shifted back to normal, steady state operations. more